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All That Glitters


Appreciation = multi-faceted perks

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net My Mom, who happens to work part time for me, watched me wait on three customers in a row the other day. After the last person left the store she remarked, “Did I drop you on your head one too many times when you were a baby or what?” You just waited on three customers that entailed fixing this, adjusting that, a solder here, then you checked and polished the last customer’s wedding set and bangle bracelets, and after all that you did not ring up a single nickel in the register. Are you telling ... Read More »

Mallorca….where the angels go for holiday

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net It’s another beautiful day in southwest Mallorca! I write this from the balcony of our hotel room on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean in tranquil Cala Fornells, which is a small inlet near Peguera. It’s hard to believe I am less than 20 minutes from the capital city of Palma and the busy airport! I have just come to realize this vacation has involved a lot of cliff driving with hairpin turns and dizzying heights, a complete opposite of the flatlands back home! Anyone who has experienced the sheer terror of driving in a car ... Read More »

Same as it ever was?

ALL THAT GLITTERS  Richard Alan  harborgoldsmith@comcast.net The jewelry business will never be the same; it’s a simple fact. I guess I will always remember the good old days. Funny thing is it was not that long ago. In the good old days, like only four years PAST, I rarely missed a trade or buying show both here and abroad. My wife and I loved traveling through Europe hunting for the unusual and what would be the rage in the months to come. Year after year, we were successful in our search for innovative styles of jewelry and gifts that would be ... Read More »

Nothing’s like it used to be

ALL THAT GLITTERS by Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net My grandfather would often lament that they just don’t make things like they used to. I would hear him say it from the 1960’s when I was knee high to a grasshopper and continually until the day he sadly passed away. And you know something? Today, he would have been so right. My house is only five years old. I have replaced my living room television and kitchen microwave three times, a security and garage door opening system that has been replaced or repaired innumerable times, at least three new pool pumps and let’s not ... Read More »

Battle of the bands

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I have just returned from my old New England stomping grounds to celebrate my niece’s graduation from nursing school. I got to mingle with folks I had not seen for many years and I couldn’t help but notice all the wedding bands I had created and sold years ago to my relatives and friends. (And they would bring it to my attention!) Many are still married to their high school sweethearts. But here on the Rock, living the dream in the new Millennium, marriages come and go like hurricane season, which reminds me of a ... Read More »

Bigger isn’t always better Read more

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net One of the many hats I wear during any given day as goldsmith/jeweler, is the job of an appraiser, which involves the act of evaluating jewelry, diamonds or precious gemstones. The appraisals can be for estate or insurance purposes or for the simple reason of needing to know. With most things in life, there is a time and a place to ask such questions or demand my services. Sticking a ring laden hand in the face of your local jeweler while he is enjoying a late night candle lit dinner with his wife in their ... Read More »


ALL THAT GLITTERS  Richard Alan  harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I received an e-mail from a long lost cousin whom I haven’t seen hide nor hair of in over twenty years. He was interested in investing some of his nest egg in gold bullion and asked my advice on where and how much gold he should buy? My advice? Where the heck has he been for twenty years? I asked him if he had been stored in deep freeze or some such thing. Talk about waiting at the airport, waiting for your “airship” to come in. I explained that gold is at the highest price ... Read More »

The April birthstone…Diamond

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net March wound up being a busy month of making diamond purchases. Actually, it was amazing! Diamond sales have been sluggish to say the least in the past few years, yet all my diamond vendors are claiming demand is up and business has been improving steadily. The demand for my diamonds was in earrings, pendants and several engagement rings, the Halo design being the most popular style. The Halo design is a center diamond, round, square or cushion shaped. It’s surrounded by smaller diamonds or precious stones and very affordable because the center diamond does not ... Read More »

A kind and gentler jewelry

ALL THAT GLITTERS  Richard Alan  harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Over the years, I have been commissioned to create jewelry for all walks of life, including certain individuals with tails, or let me rephrase that, customers’ pets. There are more than one of my four legged clients gracing our dog park who are sporting sterling silver or diamond studded 14 karat gold dog tags. Now, don’t get any ideas about attempting to relieve one of these cute canines of his or her bow wow bling. One in particular happens to be a very large and ferocious German shepherd and, unless you are immediate family, you ... Read More »

Why no becomes the only option

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net It’s a sad day for me anytime I have to refuse service to certain clients. No, I’m not a bartender, although I am often asked what my opinion is about jewelry and certain subjects about life in general. The major way I make a living is with my hands busy at my work bench and on any given day, the things that appear before me can be a bit confusing to any other goldsmith or bench jeweler or any one else for that matter. Confusion? Just the other day I started with a malfunctioning strap ... Read More »

What’s love got to do with it?

Richard Alan  harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Another Valentines Day has come and gone, and most thoughtful gentlemen avoided the consequences of ignoring a romantic holiday that for most men is fatally easy to ignore. Yes, I said fatally. Ignore Valentines Day and endure the pain and silent misery that comes from that decision. It’s true that the week before the lover’s day is a very busy one for those of us in the jewelry business and it has to be even crazier for the florist next door. Years ago, flowers, a box of chocolates, and a fancy romantic dinner more than did the ... Read More »

Prong-Less in Paradise

Richard Alan  harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Redundancy is a sure way to learn something and in my business it rings true when dealing with customers. My new shop has been a beehive of activity with both old and new faces appearing to mend broken jewelry or replace watch straps or dead batteries. The predominant repair problem of 2012 is still worn out ring prongs. Yeah, so I sound like a broken record, redundancy once again. I can’t stress how important it is to check the security status of one’s prongs, channels or bezels that hold your valuable diamonds or gemstones. Unless you live ... Read More »

Sea Life… as it is!

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I mentioned in my last article that going back to basics just wasn’t working in this economy. But here on Marco Island or Southwest Florida, for that matter, the love of basic sea life jewelry hasn’t wavered. (No pun intended.) The love of the ocean is why people flock here. Those who visit for the first time are amazed by the beauty of the beaches and the joy of living life by the shore. Personally, I was astounded by the abundant fish and wildlife that the Ten Thousand Islands offer. My first years here were ... Read More »


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net The faint ray of light at the end of the dark tunnel, to my amazement, was actually a splinter of sunshine, instead of an oncoming train. Are things actually getting better? My conversations with customers who happen to be realtors, also tell me there has been more favorable activity in their field recently. There was a general census taken randomly in a U.S. jewelry trade website last week, asking individual store owners how business was this past holiday shopping season. We shop owners need some signs of reassurance in order to plan for the future. ... Read More »

Fine jewelry vs. gold scrap

All That Glitters Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Buying gold from the public has become big business for many retail jewelry stores. I have to admit, it is a big part of mine. In the past three years I have easily bought tenfold the amount of gold that I have sold. It is true, with the exorbitant prices of precious metals, folks selling their gold are getting more money that ever before and in some cases, more than they paid for it originally. I get all kinds of reactions when quoting prices for what is presented to me. “You’re kidding me!” or ... Read More »


Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net In my last article I mentioned I took in a lot of diamonds in any given week, but that doesn’t compare to the amount of watches that land on my bench in a single day. I look at and work on a hundred or more timepieces a week. I replace dead batteries, shorten or enlarge metal watch bracelets, replace broken, worn pins and the rivets that hold them together, tighten clasps that don’t clasp and replace worn out leather or rubber straps… lots and lots of watches. They can come from the dollar store, or from a ... Read More »

How Old is Old?

By Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net In any given week, I look at a lot of diamonds, lots and lots of diamonds. I examine them for security in their settings, which includes prong wear and tear. I examine them for damage to the diamond itself. Contrary to public belief diamonds are not unbreakable and can be chipped or severely damaged if proper care is not practiced. Those folks who believe a diamond is indestructible have been reading too many Marvel Superman comics. I also inspect to identify questionable white stones that have been found in recently deceased Aunt Mary’s jewelry box. I ... Read More »

I’m thankful, I really am!

Richard Alan I tend to come across a bit on the sarcastic side, (In case some of you haven’t noticed.) I will try to control that emotion as I write this serious column. For me celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving was for most of my life a day I dreaded, in those days my family was spread all over the state and I ended up on the road with a car load of kids going from dinner to dinner, it was far from being a thankful day. But today things are very different; I never leave the island and my ... Read More »


Richard Alan  Rarely a day goes by that I don’t get astonished and or flabbergasted by comments made by misinformed or superstitious folks who enter my establishment. I’d like to quote Rick who runs the Las Vegas pawn shop on the T.V. show Pawn Stars. “Even after 30 years in the business you never know what will walk in that door.” Call them wives’ tales or folklore, you name it, most of the time it is just wrong information. Here are some of my favorite ones. You may even believe they are true. Never give opal jewelry to someone if ... Read More »


Richard Alan  Buyer beware is a term used probably before ancient Roman times, to warn even savvy consumers that if the price of merchandise they are purchasing is too good to be true it usually is. I grew up with a saying my mentor, and at the time my master, often quoted (I was an apprentice goldsmith then though I felt like an indentured servant.) “The bitterness of a low price lingers long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten” Ben Franklin.  That saying influenced my whole life, not just what I bought for my household, but even ... Read More »